Buchanon needs to tone down self-promotion

For everything good about Oakland Raiders cornerback/punt returner Phillip Buchanon, there is something bad.

The good: He is a talented athlete with a lot of potential. The bad: His act of self-promotion so far has not warranted the hype. Both aspects continued in the Raiders 27-24 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.

Buchanon returned a punt 27-yards to the Kansas City 26-yard line with just over two minutes left in the game with Oakland trailing 24-21.

Then, Buchanon took his helmet off and began taunting the Chiefs fans and drew a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct in the process. While that infraction did not cost the Raiders points, Sebastian Janikowski tied the game with a 41-yard field goal; it further shows that Buchanon could use a dose of humility.

As a cornerback, Buchanon can be electrifying when he intercepts a pass and runs into the end zone. However, he is equally likely to get beaten by that same receiver more than the 11 o'clock news highlights will suggests.

Look no further than the Chiefs game-winning drive.

On fourth-and-14 from the Oakland 33, the Chiefs opted to go for the first down instead of trying a 50-yard field goal into the wind. Buchanon began the play standing even with the first-down marker before retreating about eight yards. Kansas City wide receiver Marc Boerigter, who will never be confused with Willie Gault, turned that cushion into a 16-yard reception to set up Morten Anderson's game-winning field goal. That play is only a microcosm but an example nonetheless.

Buchanon, who is nicknamed ‘Showtime,' tries to model himself after NFL legend Deion Sanders, who was nicknamed ‘Primetime.' Buchanon, however, can use a measure of reality. Sanders' play warranted the hype. So far, that's not the case with Buchanon.

That is not to suggest that the Raiders would have scored a touchdown if Buchanon had not taunted the crowd. Oakland, however, needs to let Buchanon know that his talent is of no use if he is costing the team penalty yardage for ridiculous behavior. Fine him; bench him or whatever it takes. It's not a given that his behavior will stop but if no action is taken, the problem becomes enabled.

This is not the first time Buchanon pulled that stunt either.

Buchanon pulled a similar act when the Raiders lost to Denver 31-10 in September. After a 56-yard long punt return, Buchanon pulled his helmet off, taunted the Broncos fans and got doused with beverages. Granted, the game was out of reach but it further exposes Buchanon's "me first" attitude.

For years, critics have called the NFL the "No Fun League" for trying to put a limit on celebrations. It's one thing to have fun with the fans, like jumping into the stands at Lambeau Field. Making a fool of yourself, however, is another thing.

Luckily, for every "me first" like act in the NFL, there are still plenty of good guys and role models, like Rod Woodson among others, but knuckleheaded acts like Buchanon command attention. Those players may say they're just having fun. But it isn't fun when it costs your team penalty yardage. Just plain stupidity.

Also, football is a team sport and your individual effort, while great, does not overshadow the team's performance.

Vince D'Adamo can be reached at vdad7@yahoo.com

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